Say Her Name by James Dawson

Say Her Name by James DawsonSay Her Name by James Dawson
Genre: Horror
Release Date: June 5, 2014
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of 'Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear... But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror... five days... but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before... A truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from shortlisted 'Queen of Teen' author James Dawson.

Say Her Name is, as you’ve probably figured out, a horror story about a very popular urban legend that just happens to be one of my favourites. Bloody Mary is also one of my favourite (and one of the scariest) episodes of Supernatural, so I couldn’t not request this book when I got the offer. As promised, Say Her Name is a creepy read that almost has the classic horror story feel to it.

It was very, very creepy in the beginning, with the mirrors and the (stupid) characters saying Bloody Mary in front of a mirror. Just… WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! I have messed around with ouija boards and all sorts of things, but I absolutely refuse to say it. There was also a hint of another urban legend – you know, the dripping one? “Humans can lick too”? That one also gives me nightmares because I can’t stand home invasion stories. Or killing dogs. Anyway…

I didn’t really care for any of the characters in Say Her Name, which was a shame, but also true of a lot of horror stories. The horror aspect is usually a lot more enticing and well thought out than the characters who are involved in the game.

As a result of this, I didn’t give a crap about the romance. In fact, I found it very irritating. Can we stop creating romances when the story is a horror? Or, better yet, flesh out the romance a bit more and make the book a bit longer. I had the same issue with Ten by Gretchen McNeil. If I’m signing up for a horror story, I don’t expect to see insta-love or mushy romance. I’m here for the deaths! *cough* Scream did romance very well, for example, and it’s a shame that few horror novels manage to pull stuff like that off.

The writing was good, but nothing outstanding. It was an to read because I couldn’t wait to see what the death count would be by the end of the book, and the writing is simple and quick to read. However, Bobbie’s best friend says “Gurl”, “gurrrrrrl”, “girl” (and other variations, but you get the idea) about fifty times, and it’s bloody frustrating! I thought it was also very stereotypical because Naya is originally from the USA. It was totally unnecessary.

I really liked James Dawson’s use of flashbacks to develop the plot and the mystery surrounding Bloody Mary. I thought that these flashbacks made it really obvious as to what happened to Mary, but apparently the characters had a much harder time figuring it out. But the link that was created between past from present was interesting, and it felt very Supernatural.

My favourite part of the book, of course, was the ending. It was a classic horror movie ending, with an “oh shit” realisation at the very end as you’re closing the book.

If you’re looking for a quick horror read, then I would recommend Say Her Name because I love urban legends. But if you’re looking for anything that’s in-depth then you’re probably looking in the wrong place. Say Her Name was a great retelling of an urban legend, and, like I said, some parts were very creepy!

9 comments on “Say Her Name by James Dawson

  1. Amanda @ Book Badger June 18, 2014 4:19 pm

    I’ve been interested in this book for a while now, did a WoW on it, and I’d love to try it, even with your reservations, because I’m not a huge horror fan, I like something simple that can shock rather scare the shits, so this should be a good read. Thank you for the review hunny, a great one with the details I needed! :)

    • Amber June 20, 2014 9:30 am

      I hope you enjoy it! It’s definitely more of a shocking read than a scary one, at least for me. Although some people have been very frightened by it!

  2. lectus June 18, 2014 4:58 pm

    Irecently read another Bloody Mary that I didn’t like. Maybe I’ll givethis one a try. I agree with you about romance in YA: so unnecesary.

    • Amber June 20, 2014 9:31 am

      I don’t know why agents/editors keep asking for romance. It drives me crazy!

  3. Christy June 19, 2014 2:51 am

    I’ve been waiting on this book for a while and I’m hoping to get it soon. It sounds super creepy and I’m in love with that cover! Great review!

    • Amber June 20, 2014 9:32 am

      I hope you like it! The cover is BRILLIANT, and I wish I had a finished copy so I could display it.

  4. Jenea @ Books Live Forever June 19, 2014 3:11 pm

    I want this book but apparently I can’t get it from Barnes & Noble yet. :( It sounds really good, and I glad that you enjoyed it.

    • Amber June 20, 2014 9:33 am

      I hope you manage to get your hands on it soon!

  5. Mel@thedailyprophecy June 22, 2014 12:35 pm

    That Supernatural episode scared the crap out of me. Even my boyfriend was creeped out and he can handle that stuff more easily than me. I’m not sure if I believe in this legend, but I do know that I refuse to try it out. You never know.. I hate it when authors feel the need to put romance in a book. Not every story needs one, authors!

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